The lupus market, which covers systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and lupus nephritis (LN), is set to almost triple from $1.2 billion in 2015 to $3.2 billion by 2025, representing a compound annual growth rate of 10.6%, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.
The company’s latest report states that this strong growth, which covers the seven major pharmaceutical markets (7MM) of the US, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, and Japan, will primarily be driven by the launch of three new first-in-class pipeline drugs – anifrolumab, Orencia (abatacept), and Lupuzor – and three improved therapeutic options – atacicept, blisibimod, and voclosporin.
GlobalData also anticipates an increased prevalence of SLE and LN across the 7MM that, together with improved awareness of lupus, will result in a larger treated patient population.
Sebastian S. Gehrke, Ph.D., Healthcare Analyst for GlobalData, explains: “While antimalarials, steroids, and other immunosuppressive agents will remain at the forefront of SLE and LN therapy, biologics will experience strong uptake, strengthening their dominance of the market in terms of commercial performance and will be responsible for the strong forecast growth.
By 2025, the lupus treatment landscape is likely to be dominated by AstraZeneca’s anifrolumab, a first-in-class anti-interferon monoclonal antibody (mAb), due to its efficacy in patients with cutaneous and articular involvement. Indeed, GlobalData projects the patient share targeted by anifrolumab to represent about 75% of all SLE patients, and the drug’s success will drive the development and release of other anti-interferon mAbs beyond 2025.
Although this arrival of new pipeline drugs will satisfy the need for improved lupus medications, particularly for LN patients, a considerable share of patients will remain underserved with efficient medication. The mainstay of therapeutic options in lupus is delivered by off-label therapies that possess undesirable safety profiles, with modern drug discovery anddevelopment only resulting in the approval of Benlysta (belimumab) thus far, so unmet need is still considered to be high.
Considerable opportunities will remain after the successful launch of the six pipeline agents. Indeed, the disease etiology of lupus remains poorly understood, and there are more therapeutic targets investigated in lupus than one would expect for a disease with its prevalence. In this way, companies seeking to compete in the SLE and LN space must embrace the idea of targeting a smaller subset of the larger lupus population, as this approach will best position investigational products for success in the clinic.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery